Category Archives: Recipes

Giardiniera Update

DSC_0884 (1600x1060)This is the first time I’ve really had a good taste test for that giardiniera I made the other day.  I was a little worried that is was going to be too hot – I added way more serrano peppers to mine than any of the recipes I looked at mentioned.  I shouldn’t have worried, this one has some heat but no more than the few varieties of store bought I’ve sampled.  It’s certainly more colorful!

I Really Like Pizza Pie

DSC_0876 (1600x1060)Mrs J thought pizza would work for her dinner today.  We had all that turkey from yesterday’s project so we went with that for a topping.  White pizza sounded better with turkey than anything else so we went that route. DSC_0871 (1600x1060)I had good luck with the Prairie Gold flour the local Amish store carried so we went that way again, going half and half with white bread flour.  The dough recipe is not too involved: 1 cup PG flour, 1 cup bread flour, 1 cup warm water, 2 Tablespoons of olive oil, 2 teaspoons sugar, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1 packet of instant yeast (2-1/4 t).  I let the bread machine make the dough while we made a trip to town.DSC_0873 (1600x1060)I like to brush the crust with olive oil but I had a little garlic butter left over so I warmed that, added a little oil, and brushed it on, sprinkling kosher salt after.  I gave it another coat halfway through baking when I opened the oven to spin the pan 180.  To a basic  white sauce I added provolone and Parmesan, folded in blanched broccoli and cubed turkey meat and spread that over the crust, adding thin sliced red onions, more turkey, and a good sprinkle of Parmesan atop everything before sliding it into a 375 oven.

I Like Pie

DSC_0862 (1600x1060)We’ve had a turkey in the big freezer since the last sale on them at the local market, maybe the Easter Holidays?  I don’t remember what the sticker price was but these things go pretty cheaply.  I wanted to make room so we cooked it down today, stripped the meat away from the bones and roasted those for stock.  Mrs J made her signature butter pie crust.  Looks good!  I brushed egg white on the top and sprinkled on some flake sea salt.DSC_0864 (1600x1060)I used a bottom crust for this one even though it wasn’t, strictly speaking, necessary.  Saw in a comment thread on the recipe page that an egg white brushed on the bottom crust would help to keep it from getting too soggy so I did that and it seemed to work.  It’s usually worth your time to read some of the comments on the recipes at these Allrecipes pages.DSC_0870 (1600x1060)I had all the fresh veggies to make this but decided to use up a frozen bag of the mixed variety to save a little time.

Friday Recipe Exchange: Grilling Up Some Steaks

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JeffreyW is always making magic with steak. Here he shows off his Cheesesteak.

A big work project came up this week, as a result I have barely been in my kitchen. So for the featured recipe, I pulled up one of my prettier projects, Flank Steak Pinwheels. Not as much effort as it looks. Although I save them for special occasions.

If you’d like something with a bit less work, how about a Spicy Grilled Flank Steak? (Recipe here)

JeffreyW whips up some Cheesesteak Sandwiches (instructions and photos here)

This week’s dinner menu is Grilled Steak with Coffee Rub and Blueberry Coffeecake (menu, recipes and shopping lists here).

No real Bixby update this week, but I did finally receive and assemble my new motorized standing desk. It fascinates him, so of course there is video here.

What’s on your plate for this last weekend (how did that happen) of August? Are you sad summer waning or is fall more your season? Most importantly, whatcha cookin’?

Flank Pinwheel Prep Final

This steak can be prepped the day before, just wrap each one tightly in plastic wrap. Makes it great for a date night, anniversary or small dinner party. I pan-seared and finished in the oven because with the cheese, I thought grilling them wouldn’t work as well. The reward was great pan drippings when I was finished, which I drizzled over the potatoes before serving. If I was going to grill, I’d probably use a grilling pan to avoid flareups.

Flank Steak Pinwheels Final

Flank Steak Pinwheels

  • 1 large flank steak, butterflied
  • salt and pepper
  • crushed garlic (at least 2 cloves)
  • 8 oz sliced provolone cheese
  • 1 bunch washed and dried spinach leaves
  • 8 wooden skewers
  • olive oil

Cast iron or oven proof skillet

You can ask the butcher to butterfly your flank steak, which  is what I did. But it’s fairly easy to butterfly. You want the grain running up and down in front of you and then you’ll slice it in half, NOT slicing all the way through. When you’re done you’ll lay it open, flat, basically making a larger, thinner steak.

Once you have it laid out flat in front of you with the grain running left to right, you’ll want to tenderize it, pounding it flat. I use my pronged Tenderizertenderizer, so I add the spices first and use the tenderizer to help infuse the meat.

If you haven’t already, once it’s pounded, add salt, pepper and garlic evenly over the meat. Layer the spinach over the meat. You want it to be several leaves thick, because it will reduce as it cooks.

Next layer the provolone cheese slices, two to three slices thick, over the meat.

Now it’s time to roll.  Roll tightly in the direction of the grain. Add a skewer every 2 inches and then slice between the skewers, so you have 2-inch thick pinwheels.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Heat 1/2 to 1 tbsp of oil in large skillet, reduce heat to med-high and add pinwheels, flat-side down. After a minute, using the skewer (you may also need a metal spatula to get all the cheesy goodness) flip over, sear additional minute.  The usual method of waiting until the meat moves easily to flip will not work with this because the cheese is sticky. So just do one minute each side, it will be fine.

Place the skillet in the oven, turn the oven off and let the steak finish for 10-15 minutes for medium rare. These are thin and don’t need a lot of cooking time and you don’t want the cheese to burn.

Remove to a plate, cover with foil and let rest 10 minutes.  You can then use the great juices in the skillet to make a gravy if desired. I just drizzled them over the steak and potatoes right before serving.

My steak made 4 pinwheels. If you have more, you may need to finish cooking on a baking sheet after searing them in groups.

That’s it for this week. Have a good weekend, I’m sad to see August go, but fall in Colorado is stunning. – TaMara



Dinner Menu: Grilled Steak with Coffee Rub and Blueberry Coffeecake

Blueberry Coffee CakeBeen busy with my new motorized standing desk. I haven’t even stepped in the kitchen today. Had to put the desk together, then actually get some work done. I’ll post more about it tomorrow, it’s very cool. Until then, here is one of my most requested recipes:

From August 2013

A friend of mine spent a few months one summer experimenting with coffee rubs. This was one of my favorites. If you need something fun to do with your next grilled steak, this is a recipe to try. And with my love of blueberries, can’t go wrong with a blueberry coffeecake.  Yum.

On the board tonight:

  1. Steak with Coffee Rub
  2. Green Beans w/Bacon & Onion
  3. Baked Potatoes
  4. Blueberry CoffeeCake

Steak with Coffee Rub

  • 3 tbsp chili powder (pure ancho or a blend)
  • 3 tbsp finely ground coffee (espresso works best)
  • 1 ½ tbsp paprika (use a good one)
  • 1 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 to 1-1/2 lb of steak (rib-eye, sirloin, NY strip, etc) in 4 thick pieces

Mix together all spices. Lightly rub each steak with oil and then coat liberally on both sides with coffee rub. Now you can cook in a pre-heated skillet on medium-high heat, 5 to 7 minutes each side for medium rare. You can broil in the oven, using the second slot down from broiler, for 5 minutes each side, again for rare to medium rare, longer for medium. Or if you’re lucky (sigh) you can grill them outside. Cooking times will vary no matter which style you choose, so watch carefully and you’ll probably have to use a meat thermometer to really judge, because the rub makes it a little harder to eyeball it. Let sit for a few minutes before serving.

Green Beans w/Bacon & Onions

  • 1 lb fresh or frozen green beans (if fresh, snap off ends and snap into smaller pieces)
  • 2 strips bacon, cut into small pieces
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • salt & pepper to taste

Sm. Saucepan, steamer and Skillet

Steam beans until slightly crisp, but tender. While beans are steaming, begin browning bacon until crisp. You can drain most of the bacon drippings, leaving 1 tbsp to lightly coat beans. Add onions. Drain beans and dab with a paper towel. Add to bacon mixture, mixing well, until beans are coated in bacon drippings. Cook on medium-low for 1 to 2 minutes, until onions are heated through.

Blueberry CoffeeCake

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp cultured buttermilk powder (or 1 cup butter milk  & omit water)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 8 oz frozen blueberries

Topping:

  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup flour

8×8 baking dish, greased

2 bowls

In bowl, add flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, buttermilk and mix well. Make a well in the center add egg, water & oil. Stir quickly until all everything is mixed well, but don’t over mix. Fold in blueberries. Spread batter evenly in baking dish. In bowl, mix topping ingredients until crumbly. Sprinkle evenly over the top of batter. Bake at 400° for 25-30 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.

Shopping List:

  • 3 tbsp chili powder (pure ancho or a blend)
  • 3 tbsp finely ground coffee (espresso works best)
  • 1 ½ tbsp paprika (a good one)
  • 2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 to 1-1/2 lb of steak
  • 1 lb fresh or frozen green beans
  • 2 strips bacon
  • 4 green onions
  • 4 tbsp cultured buttermilk powder or 1 cup buttermilk
  • egg
  • 8 oz blueberries

Also: brown sugar, butter, flour, vegetable oil, vanilla, salt, baking powder, sugar, fresh ground pepper



 

Fish and Chips

DSC_0849 (1600x1060)We watched Alton Brown make these on one of the Food Network videos the other day that we had on the DVR and realized that we were due a fish dinner.  I used cod, and dusted the fish with flour before battering.  That’s malt vinegar in the little bowl

The red cabbage slaw started out as a Bobby Flay recipe but it was so bad I washed all the dressing off, added the carrots, and went with a simple vinaigrette of cider vinegar, sweetener, celery seed, and canola oil.

Mmm… Roast chicken

DSC_0842 (1600x1060)That beer-butt style roasting gadget has been getting a workout.  I’ve found that filling the canister that goes into the bird’s cavity with anything but plain water is useless.  Beer or seasoned stock of some sort work fine but no better than water.  I basted this chicken with garlic butter and olive oil – a difficult to top combo, IMHO.

The red dipping sauce is a basic buffalo wing type sauce, it’s half melted butter and half hot sauce.  I used Frank’s Hot Sauce this time because a friend gave me a big bottle.  I pressed five or six cloves of garlic into that little bit right there to kick it up and I have to tell ya, it was delicious.

Mrs J served up a big bowl of wilted lettuce – bacon grease, red wine vinegar, sweetener, and a splash of water.  Warm the dressing to a simmer and toss with the chopped lettuce, the crumbled bacon that made the grease, and some chopped green onions.  That might be my all time favorite lettuce salad.

Tidbits

via20150821_133622 (1600x1060)My brother-in-law and his wife pulled their new RV/camper rig down to Mrs J’s old home town and spotted it in a campground right next to the river.  It’s a pretty fancy rig, nicely appointed.  It’s not Trump level gold plated fancy but it is comfortable.  I took a picture through one of the camper’s windows of a tow heading downriver.  That’s the Mighty Mississippi, from the Illinois side, that’s Missouri over there.  When the river gets high, like it was this spring, this spot is underwater.  Plays hell on the landscaping.DSC_5411 (1600x1060)We see wasps of various types, along with the occasional honeybee at the hummingbird feeders, but this is the first time I’ve seen one of these bald faced hornets.  I leave it be in the hope that it will reciprocate.DSC_0797 (1600x1060)Mmm… burritos!  These are beef and bean, with cheddar and pico de gallo, rolled up and grilled in a little oil.  Zap them in the microwave for a minute before you brown them – saves time and assures that the cheese melts.DSC_0685 (1600x1060)Buffalo wings!  I usually make more but I had some vacuum sealed and frozen and there weren’t as many as came in the fresh package – I divided that in two and froze them separately to cut down on leftovers.  Most of the time I bread the wings before frying them but these went straight into the hot oil after drying them with paper towels.DSC02784 (1600x1200)Kittehs!  The black cat is Frank, he came in feral and was a wild thing at first but he’s been slowly coming around.  He’s been at St Francis for about three years and gets along well with other cats.  Mrs J says he won’t let her pet him but the lady they call The Cat Whisperer is able to.  The dilute calico is Daisy, a five month old kitteh that is chipped and vaccinated and is ready for adoption.DSC_5406 (1600x1060)Bea expresses an interest in the catnip Mrs J has growing in a pot.  I was fully expecting her to climb right in but she held off.DSC_0817 (1600x1060)My basil is still doing well, I’ve been clipping the blooms off as they appear, that seems to keep it vigorous.  I guess I need to think about what to do with all those delicious leaves.  I suppose I could dry a lot of them and process them to use in recipes.  I’m not a big fan of pesto but I may make up a batch or two and freeze it in an ice cube tray like all the other folks on Google advise.

Homemade Hot Giardiniera

DSC_0818 (1600x1060)My serrano pepper plant was producing a fair crop of peppers,  they were ripening and some were past ripe and starting to dry out.  I picked all the ripe ones with a vague idea that I would dry them, or something.  Inspiration struck as I was spooning hot Chicago style giardiniera over yesterday’s Italian beef.DSC_0834 (1600x1060)Look at all those little pepper chunks!  Those are serranos, still green, as you will almost always see them.  Our giardiniera selection is limited at this end of the state, there may be one variety of it on the shelves if we’re lucky.  My local Kroger doesn’t carry any, unlike Chicago area stores.

Fortunately, there are tons of recipes on line.  There are plenty of variations – this version has ripe and green serranos, green bell peppers, carrots, celery, onions, olive oil, white vinegar, dried oregano, black pepper, garlic, celery seed, and a 5 oz. jar of chopped green salad olives with pimentos.DSC_0835 (1600x1060)To prepare it, stir a half cup of salt into the raw veggies, add water to cover, and refrigerate overnight.  The next day rinse thoroughly to get rid of the salt, then add equal measures of vinegar and olive oil, stir in the garlic, the drained olives, and other seasonings.  I hesitate to list quantities, for this batch I used 1 cup each of vinegar and oil, a couple tablespoons of minced garlic, and just eyeballed the rest.  This will store in the fridge so I won’t try to process it further for stable shelf storage.  I bet these will be pretty hot – I’ll let you know after they spend a few days coming together.

Crockpot Italian Beef

DSC_0816 (1600x1060)I started this last night and let it go till this morning.  Here it is after the beef roast was pulled apart.  Chicago area purists will decry this kind of prep, insisting the beef has to be sliced rather than pulled but after spending the night cooking in all the liquid it just isn’t practicable to do it that way.  There are two onions in there, a handful of garlic cloves, several bay leaves, dried oregano, basil, garlic salt and garlic powder, two cans of beef broth, a generous slug of Marsala (there was a bottle right there on the counter, so what the hey, eh?).  Also, I dumped in the juice and a few pepperoncini that were left in an old jar, highly recommended addition!DSC_0825 (1600x1060)It’s best to serve these with plenty of juice.  It’ll be a mess to eat but there isn’t any shame in using a fork.  I’ve never had one of these in any of the classic Chicago eateries but I understand they will dip the whole sammich in juice if you want it that way.  I just ladled extra over this one with a spoon.DSC_0619 (1600x1060)These homemade rolls were perfect.  I baked these a while back and froze them, waiting for a good place to use them.

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